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LA show: Plug-in Toyota RAV4 not for Oz

No current plans: Toyota Australia looks unlikely to introduce the plug-in hybrid Rav4 anytime soon, despite huge demand for the standard hybrid.

Hybrid-hungry Aussies unlikely to be offered ‘most powerful yet’ Toyota RAV4 PHEV

14 Oct 2019

THE “most powerful” Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV yet will make its public debut at the Los Angeles motor show on November 20, propelled by a plug-in hybrid driveline.


But Australian customers are likely to miss out, leaving the ageing Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV as the only mainstream plug-in hybrid SUV sold here.


A single image of the plug-in RAV4 sporting a new Supersonic Red paint finish has been issued by Toyota’s North American press office, along with the promise of “spirited acceleration and “nimble handling”.


Toyota Australia senior public affairs specialist for passenger vehicles James Wang told GoAuto the company “does not have any plans to bRing in a plug-in hybrid RAV4 to Australia at this stage”.


Asked whether the model was limited to North America or unavailable in right-hand drive, Mr Wang said there was “not necessarily a production limitation” to its introduction here.


“There are a number of factors that play into it. We need to assess whether the product is feasible and if it’s going to be successful in our market,” he said.


In order to stack up to Toyota’s record-setting power claims, the plug-In RAV4 will have to out-punch the V6-engined model sold between 2007 and 2013 that churned out 201kW and 333Nm, enabling it to sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.4 seconds.


One measure the plug-in hybrid RAV4 is guaranteed to beat the V6 against is fuel consumption, as the old six-cylinder model would gulp 10.5 litres per 100 kilometres on the official combined cycle.


In 2012, Californian customers were offered a front-wheel-drive RAV4 EV that could hit 100km/h in a 7.1s, courtesy of a 115kW electric motor that would top out at 160km/h. Driving range from the 41.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack was 182km.


The latest fifth-generation RAV4 ditched the outgoing model’s diesel option in favour of a petrol-electric hybrid layout when it hit Australian showrooms in May, with waiting lists quickly established for variants fitted with this fuel-sipping drivetrain.


Front-drive RAV4 hybrids combine a 131kW/221Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine running on the Atkinson cycle with an 88kW/202Nm electric motor, while all-wheel-drive versions add a 40kW/121Nm rear electric motor. Official combined-cycle fuel consumption for 2WD and AWD variants is 4.7L/100km and 4.8L/100km respectively.


The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has an 87kW/186Nm 2.0-litre petrol engine plus 60kW electric motors on the front and rear axles, providing all-wheel drive and multiple modes of operation, including electric-only for up to 54km from the 12kWh battery pack. Official combined-cycle fuel consumption of the Mitsubishi is just 1.7L/100km.

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